Belfast Telegraph

UK in 'fantasy island' over future relationship with EU

By Andrew Woodcock

European attitudes towards Brexit have hardened in the six months since the referendum, with support for Britain declining "significantly" because of the approach Theresa May has taken, according to a new report.

The report, by a group of academics working on the Changing Europe initiative, warns that many in continental Europe regard the UK as "living on fantasy island" over its hopes for its new relationship with the EU - something which could lead to a showdown following the tabling of Article 50 in March.

A crunch issue is likely to be the 'divorce bill' expected to be presented to the UK by the European Commission, which reports suggest could be as much as £50 to £60bn.

The report's authors predicted the demand would be "a considerable embarrassment" politically for Theresa May and could result in a court battle which would drag on long after the expected date of UK withdrawal in 2019.

London School of Economics assistant professor Sara Hagemann said that Mrs May's post-referendum tour of EU capitals "seems to have generated little support".

Belfast Telegraph